‘In that Discussion As Well’ – Bulls’ Star Says Kobe Bryant Belongs with Michael Jordan and LeBron James in GOAT Discussion

Published 05/27/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Lakers Kobe Bryant argues with a referee as Cavaliers LeBron James laughs at the Staples Center Friday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? Fans have been asking this question for a long time. The debate has raged on for years with fans taking it very seriously. The main choice is between Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Fans of the older generation select Michael Jordan, whereas younger fans select LeBron James. But one NBA player thinks that Kobe Bryant also belongs in this conversation.

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Thaddeus Young on who the GOAT is

Chicago Bulls star Thaddeus Young spoke about the GOAT debate that is raging among fans. He believes that while LeBron James and Michael Jordan definitely belong in that conversation, Kobe Bryant also has a place. All three players were the most mercurial stars in the NBA during their best. He added that the most important factor to evaluate who the greatest of all time is championship rings. And all three players have multiple rings, with Jordan having the most at six.

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LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 10: The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks to shoot past the Cavaliers’ LeBron James during their 120-108 loss to Cleveland at Staples Center Thursday night. The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Staples Center Thursday night. 3/10/16 (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
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Young said, “Well we can’t take Kobe out of it, god rest his soul. Kobe is in that discussion as well. They all have multiple championships, all-defensive teams, MVP, scoring titles. The biggest thing is rings, right? So you have a guy like LeBron, who has three or four rings. You got Kobe with five. Then you have the greatest of all time, Jordan with six. But those discussions are made for different eras as well. You have my era, I got a chance to see all three of them. And I got a chance to play against two of them.”

Young believes MJ is above Kobe Bryant and LeBron James

Young added that he did get an opportunity to share the court with all three players, even though he didn’t face Michael Jordan in a competitive environment. He spoke about the similar mentalities of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and how they always wanted to win at all costs, whereas LeBron James is more focused on being an overall team player. Young declared that he considered Jordan the greatest player of all time and said:

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“I played against Jordan in the Jordan Flight Camp but he was retired then. I got a chance to play against all three players, and see how all their mentalities are. Obviously, Jordan and Kobe have similar mentalities, like how they dominate the game from a scoring perspective. And LeBron’s mentality is, he’s an all-around player, assists, rebounds, and points. But it’s hard to say who the greatest of all time is. If I had to, I think I’m going to go with Jordan currently.”

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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